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Shaft (1971)

Trailer
3:07 | Trailer
Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

Director:

Gordon Parks

Writers:

Ernest Tidyman (screenplay), John D.F. Black (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Roundtree ... John Shaft
Moses Gunn ... Bumpy Jonas
Charles Cioffi ... Vic Androzzi
Christopher St. John ... Ben Buford
Gwenn Mitchell Gwenn Mitchell ... Ellie Moore
Lawrence Pressman ... Tom Hannon
Victor Arnold ... Charlie
Sherri Brewer Sherri Brewer ... Marcy
Rex Robbins Rex Robbins ... Rollie
Camille Yarbrough Camille Yarbrough ... Dina Greene
Margaret Warncke Margaret Warncke ... Linda
Joseph Leon Joseph Leon ... Byron Leibowitz
Arnold Johnson Arnold Johnson ... Cul
Dominic Barto Dominic Barto ... Patsy
George Strus George Strus ... Carmen
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Storyline

John Shaft is the ultimate in suave black detectives. He first finds himself up against Bumpy, the leader of the Black crime mob, then against Black nationals, and finally working with both against the White Mafia who are trying to blackmail Bumpy by kidnapping his daughter. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The mob wanted Harlem back. They got Shaft...up to here. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 July 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shaft See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,125,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Moses Gunn's character, Bumpy Jonas, is based on Bumpy Johnson, an African-American mobster in the 1930s. See more »

Goofs

When Shaft pushes one of Bumpy's goons into his office, the sound of glass breaking is heard, but the glass window in the office door is clearly undamaged until a short time later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Shaft: [holding up his middle finger to a cab driver who is honking his horn at him] Up yours! Get out the way!
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 28 minutes from this film for its 1975 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Kids in the Hall: Episode #1.2 (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Ellie's Love Theme
(uncredited)
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
See more »

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User Reviews

Classic bit of black-ploitation
27 May 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

John Shaft is a private detective in Harlem. He is hired by pimp and drug dealer Bumpy Jonas to find Bumpy's daughter who has been kidnapped by an unknown party. Shaft investigates the local Panther organisation but ultimately finds that an Italian mob is trying to move in on Bumpy's territory. With all parties at conflict Shaft must keep his cool to get the girl back.

Ay the start of a decade filled with cheap movies aimed at getting the black audience a product aimed at them in particular. Many of these were poor but Shaft stood out because it could have been a film in it's own right. The story is a normal detective movie with a black twist and that helps – because it's not forced at all. The story is gritty and tough as befits the setting and the hero.

Shaft is tough but hadn't yet turned into 007 (as he did in Shaft's Big Score), this makes him tough but also keeps him down to earth. Roundtree handles himself sexily and looks great – the film very much revolves around his performance and he holds the attention easily.

The film eventually gets into gun fights and an exciting conclusion but really this is all about mood and funk. And it delivers both.


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